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"Superbad" & "High School Musical 2"

By admin Published: August 15, 2007

I liked "Superbad" more than "HSM 2." Does that make me a bad person?

I've already posted some thoughts about "Superbad," and I'll have a full review in Friday's Beacon Journal that I'll link here later. Today I watched "HSM 2," also for a review in Friday's paper to be linked later. Two movies about high-school kids premiering on the same day. Nice timing.

I had looked forward to both projects. I'm a fan of producer Judd Apatow and writer-actor Seth Rogen, both so key to "Superbad." And I liked the original "High School Musical." Seriously. I've seen it more than once. Seriously. But, at the end of the day, I liked "Superbad" a lot more than "HSM 2," and I am already bracing for reader complaints.

"Superbad" is, after all, a very R-rated comedy full of raw language, sexual posturing and at least one bit I couldn't begin to describe here.

(I won't describe it in part because this blog is rated G, according to this gizmo, although that rating may change if I ever get around to a post I've been pondering about love and sex in modern entertainment. Or just because I used the word "sex." Or if I say "Looky Ploot,"* the title of a 1950 song currently stuck in my head, which the ratings gizmo may not know what to do with.)

So there's "Superbad" on the one hand. And on the other we have "HSM 2," which is all sparkly and clean and family-oriented and hand-holding and building up suspense about -- brace yourself -- a kiss. A reader could look at the two reviews and go, oh, this guy hates family fare and likes bad stuff -- even though there's no either/or here. You can like one, the other or both, and will have plenty of chances to see each.

And what can I do? I watched both and had my opinions. You can't start massaging your opinions out of fear of readers' reactions. There's no end to that slope once you start sliding. And if I want readers to trust me -- even that form of trust that involves reading me enough that you know you will disagree with anything I say -- then all I can do is say what I think.

Still, I wish I had liked "HSM 2" a little more. (Let the record show I didn't hate it. But I didn't think it was as good as the first movie.) I understand the people who long for good family viewing, and want to know when it comes along. I just didn't think this movie was all that good. And while I wouldn't remotely recommend "Superbad" to all those kids who have parties planned around "HSM 2" on Friday night, it made me laugh a lot.

*By Emmitt Slay and His Slayriders, included on the CD "More Mellow Cats 'N' Kittens: Hot R&B and Cool Blues 1946-1952.

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